Tenn. Senate Passes Less Speedy Rural Broadband Bill

Apr 4, 2017

Credit Rancz Andrei/123rf Stock Photo

The Senate has passed a bill that could make it easier for rural areas in Tennessee to get access to the internet. The bill, named the Broadband Accessibility Act of 2017, was pushed by Gov. Bill Haslam.

The bill now clears the way for electric co-ops to begin selling both internet and video service. It may not necessarily be speedy, though. An amendment tacked on to the bill said internet download speeds would not have to be more than 10 megabits per second, far less than the 25 megabits per second that the Federal Communications Commission defines as broadband speed.

Sen. Mike Bell, a Republican from Riceville who co-sponsored the bill, said 34 percent of Tennesseans are living without access to minimum standards of internet connectivity.